MORGAN COUNTY — While bus driver shortages aren’t exactly uncommon, school districts across the country have experienced severe shortages in drivers, resulting in late routes, substitute drivers, and many other complications.

Morgan County is not immune to these complications.

Martinsville recently announced efforts to fill some of the shortages within the district.

“As different things have happened in the COVID world, it’s just really magnified (the shortage),” Dennis Mills, the transportation director for the district, recently told the Reporter- Times.

Mills said he and his mechanical staff were currently driving the buses to fill in for the shortages.

Mooresville has also faced significant problems due to driver shortages. An update posted to the Mooresville Schools Facebook page on Aug. 30 said some routes would be “delayed or canceled” due to a shortage of bus drivers.

The district also said that in the event a route was canceled, parents could either bring their children to school themselves, or they could elect to have their child eLearn for the day.

“We’re like other districts, and have experienced a driver shortage,” Susan Haynes, Director Communication and Community Relations, said. “We’ve put out some different messages and a video about being a bus driver to attract more candidates.”

Haynes mentioned a few new drivers have started this fall, which has helped ease some of the strain.

“We’re excited to have them,” she said. Wes Hammond, the superintendent for Eminence schools, said their district also faced some problems with bus driver shortages. “We have been impacted by the bus driver shortage... we had to eliminate a regular route this summer because we had a bus driver retire and no one applied for the position,” Hammond said in an email. “Fortunately, we were able to get the students assigned to another bus so we are getting along okay at this time.” Monroe-Gregg Schools Transportation Director, Gina Speck, said M-GSD was confronted with similar problems.

“A driver will come in with their route and then go back out and get somebody else’s route,” Speck said. “We try to do our best to get (students) here on time but sometimes they are five or ten minutes late to class.”

Speck said they had one substitute driver, but anything beyond that required them to double route. Monrovia has not yet needed to have transportation staff serve as drivers, though Speck said there have been discussions of that becoming a possibility. “I’m really thinking maybe we’re going to have to double up a lot more routes, and change some,” Speck noted. “There’s not enough drivers. We would love to talk to anyone who’s interested.”

Speck said they do all their own training on campus, and they pay for the training as well.

“It really is a great place to work,” Speck added. “I think a lot of people are scared to drive a bus, but we don’t send anybody over to be tested until we feel that they’re ready.”

If anyone is interested in applying to be a bus driver, individuals should visit the district’s website.
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